Every organization spends time filling out forms such as invoices, expense reports, job applications and reviews. Paper-based forms require manual distribution, data entry and filing and may get misplaced or lost. With electronic forms (e-forms), the data entered into the form fields can be automatically extracted into the metadata fields of FileHold eliminating data entry. E-forms streamline and automate business processes by helping people interact with information more effectively. According to Gartner, a single paper form can COST an organization $30-$165 to use, process and enter and 85% of business processes rely on forms.
What is an Electronic Form (e-form)
An electronic form, or e-form, is a dynamic document that captures information. E-forms can be downloaded by a customer for use at anytime, online or off. The e-forms can then be submitted back and added to FileHold for data extraction and storage. The entire form is stored electronically and can be put into a workflow for further review and approval such as the case with expense reports.
Any type of form such as: invoices, expense reports, job applications, permits, or requests that is used to collect and track information can be transformed into a Microsoft Office Word e-form using the developer content controls. Forms can be created by any skilled Microsoft Word user, no programming skills are required. Electronic form creation and capture of the metadata fields can be provided for customers by FileHold as a professional service.
Benefits of Electronic Forms (e-forms)
- User-friendly Microsoft Word forms or PDF forms: E-forms can be filled out and submitted or added to the document management system easily using the widely-known and used Microsoft Word application . Forms can be pre-populated with data, such as in drop-down lists and date pickers, saving users valuable data entry time and ensuring consistency.
- Accuracy: E-forms improve the accuracy of data collected by ensuring the data type and format is correct. For example, if a person was filling out a job application and attempted to enter a letter in the social security number field, this would not be allowed. It also improves the accuracy of the metadata collected on the form when it is added to the document management system. Since the values on the e-form can be automatically extracted, this removes the level of error that comes with manual entry.
- Availability: E-forms can be made available at anytime or anywhere when there is an internet connection and / or computer available. E-forms can be placed on corporate web sites or be made accessible via the Anonymous Portal in the document management system.
- Automation: Using the XML Node Extraction rules in the document management system, there is no limit to the amount of information you can collect via e-forms. The data is automatically extracted from the e-form and formatted to match your schemas and metadata fields. There is no manual entry of metadata required.
- Cost Savings: E-forms reduce user errors, decrease processing time, and eliminate the costs of printing, mailing and storing traditional forms.
- Efficiency: E-forms streamline the processing of forms such as expense reports, invoices, and registrations. After an e-form has been filled out and added to the document management system, it can then undergo a workflow process (review or approval) for further processing.
See Electronic Forms In Action!
If you would like a live demonstration of how Microsoft Word e-forms or PDF forms can be used to extract the values in the content controls into the metadata fields of FileHold, please download a copy of one of the e-forms below, fill it out, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The following links are samples of electronic forms that have been created by FileHold. To save the files, right-click on the document name and select Save Link As...
- Invoice (Microsoft Word)
- Expense Report (Microsoft Word)
- Employment Application (Microsoft Word)
- Work Order (Microsoft Word)
- Employee Information (PDF)
"Today’s economy will force decisions around IT cost cutting and optimization. There aren’t that many supplemental technologies that enterprises can implement with relative ease to generate value almost immediately. But given the costs of paper production, processing, and delivery, electronic forms solutions can always save money, always save paper and the environment, always create more productive, happier users, and always make data more accurate. Data accuracy alone can save thousands of dollars in many business processes. The world has been waiting for this technology to mature. The eForms providers have reached the point where they can deliver productivity and profitability across a range of adoption models - from low impact business user authoring to very sophisticated long run process automation." -Toby Bell, Gartner Group, November 2008